Author: Jacobsen, Rebecca, Frankenberg, Erica, & Lenhoff, Sarah Winchell

Title: Diverse Schools in a Democratic Society: New Ways of Understanding How School Demographics Affect Civic and Political Learning

University Affiliation: Michigan State University; Pennsylvania State University


Research Question: This paper considers whether a new framework for conceptualizing school racial composition, including the number and identity of specific racial groups and the stability of those groups, can determine more precisely the ways in which school diversity impacts students’ citizenship learning.

Published: Yes

Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation: American Educational Research Journal

Journal Entry: Vol. 49. No. 5 pp.812-843

Year: 2012


  1. Students enrolled in diverse schools did not report having more civic learning opportunities or stronger civic attitudes than students in segregated non-White schools.
  2. A simple categorization of diversity (either diverse or not) revealed no significant differences between students’ political and civic learning opportunities and attitudes. But when the authors include data about the different types of racial groups present in these schools the data tell a different story.
  3. Across all three outcomes, students in Black/White/Latino schools were significantly less likely than students in four-group schools to report positive citizenship, even after controlling for individual and school characteristics.
  4. Students in Black/Latino/Asian schools were significantly more likely to report that their teachers encouraged civic behavior than students in four-group schools.
  5. Although students in Latino/White schools did not have significantly different attitudes about civic responsibility than students in four-group schools, they were less likely to report positive civic learning opportunities for knowledge and skills and less likely to report that their teachers encouraged citizenship activities.
  6. Students in White/Latino/Asian schools were more likely to report that they believed it was their own and others’ responsibility to be concerned about political and civic issues than the four-group reference group.
  7. Students in segregated Black and in segregated Latino schools were less likely to report learning opportunities for civic knowledge and skills than students in four-group schools.
  8. Students in schools with four racial group are more likely to report civic learning opportunities and positive civic attitudes than students in schools with fewer than four groups.
  9. Students in all other schools were less likely to report civic learning opportunities or positive civic attitudes than students in stably diverse schools none of the school context variables reach statistical significance.

Scholarship Type Journal Article Empirical Research

Keywords: Diversity, High School, Race, Social Capital, Social Studies, Urban Schools

Regions Midwest

Methodologies: Quantitative

Research Designs: Secondary Data, Survey

Method of Analysis: Regression

Sampling Frame: 9th 10th and 11th grade students in Chicago public schools

Sample Types: Population

Unit of Analysis: School, Student

Data Types: Quantitative

Data Description:


Entry Created at: 2016-04-19 23:18:19 UTC
Last Update: 2016-09-09 19:03:13 UTC